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Carrillo Adjourns Assembly in Memory of Barbara Torres

Carrillo Adjourns Assembly in Memory of Barbara Torres

Today I rise to honor the memory of
Barbara Torres, a dedicated party and labor activist and social justice
warrior who unexpectedly passed away July 13th over health complications. She
was only 38 years old. Barbara was born and raised in East L.A. and graduated from
Garfield High School, she was a proud Bulldog and she loved her community. At
14, Barbara became a student worker which led to her career at the Los Angeles
Unified School District. During her nearly 25 years at LAUSD
she spent 20 of those years assisting the neediest of students as a special
education paraprofessional. Barbara believed that all children should have
access to a quality education and no matter their income or language skills
they should be provided with the respect and dignity that we all deserve. To
properly serve the students of LAUSD Barbara knew that her co-workers should
have all the tools training and respect that their profession demanded that is
when she started her career as a labor advocate. Barbara was the first and
youngest person to serve as a president of SEIU Local 99. She represented over
45,000 education workers in K through 12 schools early education centers homes
and community colleges. Many members in this house and in the Senate have
benefited from Barbara’s activism and countless hours that she volunteered on
campaigns if you knew Barbara you knew that you wanted her on your side. I
wasn’t as lucky. She actually ran against me for this assembly seat and by doing
so she made me a better candidate and ultimately a better leader. Since her
untimely passing I have often thought about a conversation we had while having
coffee in East L.A. You can’t forget about us Wendy, she told me, you can’t forget
about the kids and I promised her that I wouldn’t. Locally she served as a chair
of the 51st Assembly District delegation for the L.A. County Democratic Party and
as an active member of the California Democratic Party she played a pivotal
role in increasing the state minimum wage to $15 an hour when you look at
that history photo were governor Brown you will see
Barbara right next to him. Barbara was a friend of the worker and a champion of
underdogs she was hopeful and excited for what the
future would bring. Her passing sent shockwaves through Los Angeles political
circles and we owe it to her and her love of this state to pass meaningful
policy that ensures every Californian has access to quality health care.
Barbara is survived by her siblings Katherine, Frances, Raul, Julian Jr. She
leaves behind her precious nieces Brianna and Rihanna Raven, whom she loved
and supported. Her absence is felt deeply in assembly district 51 and throughout
our great state. Thank You colleagues and I ask that we adjourn in her memory

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